1880: Ippolit Mlodetsky, Loris-Melikov’s would-be assassin

Add comment February 22nd, 2010 Headsman

If you were a person of any privilege or official authority in late 19th century Russia, chances are that Narodnaya Volya was planning to take a shot at you.

If you were General Loris-Melikov, a Ukrainian Jew did that to you two days before this date in 1880.*

And if you were that errant assassin, Ippolit Mlodetsky, this was your execution date.

Even though Melikov rated as something of a liberal on the Russian autocracy spectrum, he had no qualms about ordering legal proceedings barely this side of summary.

Gen. Melikoff, on Wednesday evening, ordered a court-martial to assemble on Thursday morning. The trial of the prisoner was opened at 11 o’clock in the morning. The prisoner was insolent in his language and demeanor, and refused to stand up or take any part in the proceedings. He said he had nothing to add … that he did not want to be troubled any more, and wanted the matter finished. … at 1 o’clock … judgment was pronounced against him. The judgment on the prisoner sentenced him to be hanged, and his execution was appointed for 10 o’clock this (Friday) morning on the Simeonofsky Plain, near the Tsarskoe-selo Railway terminus.

And so he was.

Mlodetsky’s public hanging was witnessed by novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky in the very square where Dostoyevsky himself had faced mock-execution for revolutionary activity 30 years before.

Dostoyevsky was, even then, pulling together his magnum opus, The Brothers Karamazov.

The very day Mlodetsky tried to kill Melikov found Fyodor Mikhailovich chatting with fellow reactionary journalist Aleksey Suvorin about the plague of terrorism and its accompanying social malaise.

On the day of the attempt by Mlodetsky on Loris Melikov I was with F. M. Dostoyevsky.

… Neither he nor I knew anything about the assassination. But our conversation presently turned to political crimes in general, and a [recent] explosion in the Winter Palace in particular. In the course of talking about this, Dostoyevsky commented on the odd attitude of the public to these crimes. Society seemed to sympathize with them, or, it might be truer to say, was not too clear about how to look upon them … (Quoted here.)

Dostoyevsky in this conversation revealed that for the planned sequel to The Brothers Karamazov — never to be realized in the event —

he was going to write a novel with Alyosha Karamazov as the hero. He planned to bring him out of the monastery and make a revolutionary of him. He would commit a political crime. He would be executed.

(Much more about this sequel in this paper.)

Melikov’s brush with death did not dissuade him from continuing to push for constitutional reforms as the antidote to terrorism, including introduction of a parliament. Tsar Alexander II was on the point of implementing that proposal … when he himself was assassinated by Narodnaya Volya, precipitating a political backlash.

That murder of Alexander II helped put the kibosh on the Karamazov sequel, which would thereafter have become politically problematic.

Nor was that the only artistic casualty of the Russian terrorists.

A discomfiting thematic similarity in Mlodetsky’s execution with that of the protagonist resulted in the cancellation of a just-opened opera: The Merchant Kalashnikov. (It would be a few more decades before that connection could appear ironic.)

* The assassination attempt occurred on February 20, with the execution on February 22, according to the Julian calendar still in use in Russia at that time. By the then-12-days-later Gregorian calendar, the dates were March 3 and March 5, respectively.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 19th Century,Assassins,Attempted Murder,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,Hanged,History,Jews,Notable for their Victims,Public Executions,Revolutionaries,Russia,Terrorists

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1716: 100 Sikhs per day for a week

1 comment March 5th, 2009 Headsman

On this date in 1716, the Mughal Empire began disposing of 700-plus Sikh prisoners taken in its grueling campaign against Banda Singh Bahadur by beheading them 100 at a time in Delhi.

The peacable-at-first Sikhs had been a thorn in the Muslim Mughal rulers’ side for a century, militarizing in response to heavy official persecution. (The kirpan, the ceremonial dagger Sikhs still wear as a religious tenet, dates to this period.)

The Mughals finally succeeded in overcoming Banda Bahadur, who sacked a Mughal provincial capital and maintained a rival kingdom in the Punjab,

His 700 doomed adherents were borne into Delhi in a procession along with the heads of slain companions mounted on pikes, and Banda Bahadur himself carried in a cage. British envoys John Surman and Edward Stephenson described in a dispatch to the mother country (available in Early Records of British India) the fate of these unfortunates.

The great rebel Guru (Bandu, the Sikh) who has been for these twenty years so troublesome in the province of Lahore, is at length taken with all his family and attendance by the Subahdar, or Viceroy, of that province. Some days ago they entered the city laden with fetters, his whole attendants which were left alive being about 780,* all severally mounted on camels, which were sent out of the city for that purpose, besides about 2,000 heads stuck upon poles, being those who died by the sword inb attle. He was carried into the presence of the King, and from thence to a close prison. He at present has his life prolonged with most of his officers, in hopes to get an account of his treasure in several parts of his kingdom, and of those that assisted him, when afterwards he will be executed for the rest. There are one hundred each day beheaded. It is not a little remarkable with what patience they undergo their fate, and to the last it has not been found that one has apostatised from the new formed religion.

According to the obviously partisan source sikhism.com, one of the prisoners was a teenage boy whose “mother appealed to the Emperor that her son should be set free because he was not a Sikh, but the boy replied that his mother was lying, that he was indeed a Sikh, and that he must be executed in the same way as the rest.”

* Surman and Stephenson may have been mistaken about the exact count of prisoners.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 18th Century,Beheaded,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,God,History,India,Known But To God,Martyrs,Mass Executions,Mughal Empire,No Formal Charge,Power,Religious Figures,Summary Executions

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Next Posts


Calendar

November 2020
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  

Archives

Categories

Execution Playing Cards

Exclusively available on this site: our one-of-a-kind custom playing card deck.

Every card features a historical execution from England, France, Germany, or Russia!